Koreans lean heavily on plastic while overseas in first quarter

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Koreans lean heavily on plastic while overseas in first quarter

Overseas credit card spending rose to a record high in the first quarter as more people bought products and services from abroad, the central bank said yesterday.

Overseas credit card bills totaled $2.27 billion in the January-March period, up 5.2 percent from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea. The figure covers purchases made by credit, debit or check cards.

The amount also marks the second-highest quarterly spending total after the $2.96 billion reported for the third quarter of 2011.

The increase comes after a 5.9 percent contraction in overseas credit card spending in the last three months of 2011 when the total stood at $2.16 billion.

The central bank added that the number of credit card users increased along with the amount spent per person, compared to the previous quarter.

Listed companies see over 8% drop in consolidated earnings

Consolidated earnings for Korean listed companies fell 8.49 percent on-year in the first quarter in the midst of mounting global economic uncertainties and slowing exports, a report showed yesterday.

The combined net profit of 165 big firms such as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor totaled 19.4 trillion won ($16.4 billion), down from 22 trillion won a year earlier, according to the report by the Korea Exchange (KRX) and the Korea Listed Companies Association.

The tally was based on the new Korean International Financial Reporting Standards that require listed companies to include affiliates’ results in their earnings reports.


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